About six weeks ago I met the Editor of Radio 4’s Today Programme, Ceri Thomas, and we discussed how alcohol and alcohol problems are portrayed in the media. I told him I thought coverage was too simplistic, but how do you balance the time needed to explain the complexities with the nature of broadcast media, particularly radio news, which needs to be quick and compelling. Alcohol problems are caused by an unholy cocktail of genes, neurological processes, traumatic life events, social factors, cultural context, psychological mechanisms, and mental illnesses. To complicate things further, the ingredients of that cocktail are different in every single individual.
Ceri took a risk, and asked me to make a 5-6 minute piece to try and explain the complexities, and I made a package with a producer called Tom Colls. He knew I’d never done anything like this before, and taught me loads about radio, and loads about how I work. Our piece was broadcast this morning, and you can listen to it here http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-21627080